Shutter Island (2010)

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Screenplay By: Laeta Kalogridis

Cinematography By: Robert Richardson

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo & Ben Kingsley

Runtime 138 minutes

I am so glad I have finally been able to rewatch this film. As I say a lot, the way we receive movies is largely due to our expectations. Sometimes this falls on marketing for a misleading advertising campaign and sometimes this falls on us for wanting a movie to be something it is not. When I first saw Shutter Island in theaters I could not appreciate this movie for what it was because I wanted it to be something it wasn’t. I was looking for a detective ghost story and that is not what Shutter Island is. What Shutter Island is is a profoundly beautiful film about a shattered man who has a whole island of people trying to help him find himself.

The beautiful irony of Shutter Island, which was not lost on me this time around is that wonderful idea that Leo’s character is looking for himself. This is and isn’t a spoiler. The reason it is not is because the movie is undeniably more impactful when you know this going into it. Every gesture, every look, every comment that people make to or away from Teddy Daniels (Leo’s character) has so much more meaning because you, along with everyone else on the island, knows what is going on. That was the tragic flaw of this movie for a modern audience. It seemed to them, us, me at the time that we were being dealt a shady hand. That the movie wasn’t being honest or straight forward with us. That ultimately there had to be more because it couldn’t have been as simple as the characters were telling us it was. But it is that simple and therefore utterly complex and compelling.

I’m telling you, this movie is beautiful and heart-breaking and a tremendous testament to Martin Scorsese. Go rewatch this movie and be amazed.

God Bless America

I’m the Angel of Death: Pusher III (2005)

Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn

Screenplay By: Nicolas Winding Refn

Cinematography By: Morten Søborg

Starring: Zlatko Buric

Runtime: 90 minutes

If you follow my blog, which you don’t because no one does, you’d know I’ve been cruising through Refn’s Pusher trilogy. After an unusual experience with Pusher II, Pusher III makes a lot more sense. Even though it’s a trilogy, II and III feel much more tonally related than I. Now having watched all three though, while still feeling I is the best of the trilogy I have an extreme appreciation for II and III and what they succeed in doing.

This trilogy is about control, specifically an individual’s ability to control their environment. Each protagonist is either trying to have control, find control, or maintain control over their situations. A noble theme and a fascinating one for Refn to have explored. As a trilogy it is fun and gratifying to see minor characters weave in and out of these movies even though the protagonists change throughout the three.

Pusher III makes you want Milo to maintain control as much as he wants to. A man once with unquestionable power in the Pusher world is now aging and fighting addiction (another aspect of how he is looking to control something). But Milo’s time as someone to not fuck with isn’t over yet. This is another great movie by Refn and the trilogy has a lot to say about humanity and it’s dark underbelly of crime.

Watch these movies, they’re all on Amazon Prime right now and you won’t be disappointed.

God Bless America

Pusher (1996)

Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn

Screenplay By: Jens Dahl & Nicolas Winding Refn

Cinematography By: Morten Søborg

Starring: Kim Bodnia & Mads Mikkelsen

Runtime: 110 minutes

Refn’s first feature film is no disappointment. This movie is intense, really really intense. You know shit has to go sour and then it does and boy is it rough. It’s like being in a nightmare you can’t wake up from.

Refn keeps amazing me. This isn’t like his later films, he’s clearly got more money to play with now but in Pusher he understands his limitations and uses them to his advantage. It’s an extremely impressive film. It also proves Refn has always been obsessed with the mob and mob mentality. And Refn’s mob isn’t Scorsese’s New York mafia, but low level grimy mobs, hidden mobs. The LA mob in Drive, The Bangkok mob in Only God Forgives, but it all started in Pusher with the grungy Copenhagen mob of Denmark.

Watch this movie cause it’s really fucking good. Also it’s cool to see a young Mads Mikkelsen who is exceptional as Tonny.

God Bless America

The Neon Demon (2016)

Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn

Screenplay By: Nicolas Winding Refn and Mary Laws & Polly Stenham

Cinematography By: Natasha Braier

Starring: Elle Fanning

Jesus titty-fucking Christ! This movie is fucking bonkers. How are people not talking about this film. Refn once again makes the case for being the most ambitious and provocative director around. This movie is fucking great!

There is an undeniable and unavoidable tension from the first shot to the last. This movie never gives you a break, and when you think it has is when you’ll be the most in trouble. Wow! Just wow.

I wish all movies could be conceived with this amount of creativity and delicacy. From the story, to the costumes, the music, the shots, everything is working on such a high level it is really a stunning thing to behold.

Something that I really enjoyed about this movie besides all of it, was the resolution. Usually movies have a climax and end within a few minutes after that. This movie allows you to stew and simmer. And boy oh boy! Wow wow wow.

If you’re into dark and twisted and beautiful things go see this movie.

God Bless America

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

Directed By – Terry Gilliam

Screenplay By – David Peoples & Janet Peoples

Cinematography By – Roger Pratt

Starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe & Brad Pitt

129 min.

This movie is awesome.

Brad Pitt’s eyes are amazing and not in the dreamy sense. Watch this movie and tell me Brad is a bad actor. The guy has crazy eyes the entire movie and they’re awesome.

The score is awesome. Just thinking of it give me the shivers cause of how awesome it is.

I love this movie.

Bruce Willis is also really fucking crazy good in this movie and proves that he can act.

God Bless America

The Element of Crime (1984)

Directed By – Lars von Trier

Screenplay By – Niels Vørsel & Lars von Trier

Cinematography By – Tom Elling

Starring Michael Elphick, Esmond Knight & Me Me Lai

104 min.

Whew! I don’t know if I quite have a review of this movie. More like I’ll probably watch this one again later down the road, but for now it wasn’t for me…but then again it was. I have very mixed feelings towards The Element of Crime and that’s all I can really give you for now. Visually it’s entrancing.

God Bless America

Shoot the Piano Player (1960)

Directed By – François Truffaut

Screenplay By – François Truffaut & Marcel Moussy

Cinematography By – Raoul Coutard

Starring Charles Aznavour & Marie Dubois

92 min.

An excellent film. Not much to say besides Truffaut knows how to make a captivating film packed with suspense, love&sex, humor, and sorrow and all in only 92 minutes. The man is truly a master.

God Bless America